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Terminology BCG opposed to other firms

BCG BCG Case Interview
New answer on Feb 29, 2024
11 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Feb 19, 2024

I have heard that it is a No-Go to use McKinsey terminology in BCG Interviews. Can anyone provide me with a list of the most notable differences between the two in terms of wordings? Thanks!!

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Gero
Expert
updated an answer on Feb 19, 2024
Ex-BCG │200+ Interviews & Interview Coachings @ BCG │ 20+ candidates coached into MBB │WHU/LSE/Nova │ Teacher & Trainer

Hi there,

I agree with Avinash here. It is totally expected that you apply to different firms and, in general, you do not have to learn a specific firm's language to be successful!

That being said, you should nonetheless show cultural sensitivity - essentially, the same type of awareness about company-specific terms and competition-specific terms that you would be expected to show in a client dialogue.

Where does that apply?

With the MBB companies, each may use different terms for (non-exhaustive):

  1. Hierarchical ranks 
    (example: BCG PL - Bain Manager - McK EM)
  2. Company-related policies such as educational and flexible leaves or internship formats ("VA-ship", “Climateship”, …)

The terms for 2. are often included in the promotional material provided by the firms, while you can readily research the terms for 1. online before the interview.

You do not need to know any of this. However, if you proactively decide to use such elements in your fit answers or questions to the interviewer (e.g., “I would in that situation ask my Manager…”, “I wondered about your experience in your FlexLeave doing…") it makes a professional and good impression to use the right terms.

Hope that helps!

Best,

Gero

(edited)

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Avinash
Expert
replied on Feb 19, 2024
ex-BCG 4 years | Interviewer at BCG | 4 BCG offices (Miami, Madrid, Bogotá, Lima) | Now start-up founder $50M+ raised

Hey! 

I'm not sure where you heard about this but I really don't agree

At the end of the day, every interviewer is a human being. Human beings are just that, so every interviewer will act differently. It may be that there are a handful of interviewers out there for whom this statement is true. However, in my career I have met hundreds of MBB interviewers and I believe the overwhelming majority of them know you are applying to all MBB firms and expect you to do just that. In fact, when most of them were at your stage, they also applied to all three firms.

Hope this helps!

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 20, 2024
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

This isn't really a thing. I can't think of any Mck/BCG specific thing, other than say, the BCG Matrix or Associate/Engagement Manager versus Consultant/Project Lead (which, of course, you should always know your role).

I would not stress/focus energy on this!

Some real Dos/Donts:

Dos and Don'ts in a Case Interview

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Hagen
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Feb 21, 2024
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

I would be happy to share my thoughts on your question:

  • First of all, I wonder why this would even be any issue, except for the rare case that you worked for the one consulting firm for a long time and then transitioned to the other - and in that case, most likely nobody would care if you would use different terms. As such, please do not worry about this.
  • Moreover, I would highly advise you to just use neutral terms, e.g. saying “project” instead of “engagement” or “case study”, and you will not face any issues either way.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to best prepare for your upcoming interviews, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

(edited)

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Alberto
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 21, 2024
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

Hi there,

Interviews are complex enough to also try to cover this dimension on specific language.

There is no such dimension on the interview scoring to measure “using McKinsey language” so focus on nailing the fit and case part to secure the offer!

Best,

Alberto

Check out my latest case based on a real MBB interview: Sierra Springs

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 20, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Please don't worry about this sort of stuff.

Nobody is going to reject you if you say Business Analyst instead of Associate, for instance. 

Just make sure that you research the role that you're applying for and know what it's called, but nobody is going to turn you down for insignificant things. 

If you want an overview of the most common terms that pop up in interviews, you might find the following list useful:

Good luck!
Cristian

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Benjamin
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 25, 2024
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer

Hi,

I think there are only 2 faux pas that you could make in the interview:

  1. Referring to the wrong firm name
    • i.e. saying BCG instead of Bain (Yes, I have witnessed this before)
  2. Using wrong terminology for positions
    • E.g. EM vs PL

Neither of this are ‘deal breakers’ IMHO, but definitely do not help to create a positive impression of you in terms of ability to deal with stress, attention to detail etc.

What's infinitely more important is your performance on the case interview which is testing your problem solving abilities. This is firm agnostic.

All the best!

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Lucie
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 21, 2024
10+yrs recruiting & BCG Project leader

Hi there,

I would at least familiar with the rankings as well what is specific for each consulting → this shows that you did research about the firm you interview with. But I would not be stressed out about the specific language. If you by default say something really McKinsey, you can turn it into joke that all that names drives you crazy… no worry, if you do well, this wont cripple you AT ALL.

All the best,

Lucie

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Florian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 20, 2024
Highest-rated McKinsey coach (ratings, offers, sessions) | 500+ offers | Author of The 1% & Consulting Career Secrets

Hi there,

Focus on the things that matter to interviewers instead of overthinking terminology. Fully agree with the others here! :-)

As a firm outsider, you would not even know the common team room phrases and terminology for each firm. No interviewer would see it badly if you use some McKinsey slang in a BCG interview.

All the best,

Florian

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Pedro
Expert
replied on Feb 29, 2024
30% off in April 2024 | Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

The only “no-go” is using the rank names or specific groups (e.g. PIPE) of one company when interviewing with another one. 

Simply because it shows you didn't do your homework, or didn't do it well.

Other than this, everything is fine, I don't even think they use different terminologies.

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Nikita
Expert
replied on Feb 28, 2024
MBB & Tier2 preparation | 85+ offers | 7 years coaching | 2000+ sessions | PDF reviews attached

Hey,

Usually a non-issue, though I agree with the other coaches that you should, ideally, use proper position names (PL instead of EM etc.) and be generally aware of the company's culture.

Hope this helps,
Nick

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